This Weekend in London

MARCH

The weather is finally shifting, can you feel it? If that doesn’t inspire you to get out of your house, I don’t know what will!

SUGAR BUSH

London is so fortunate to be surrounded by delicious seasonal sugar bush farms. Pack up the fam and head out to enjoy this truly Canadian treat! For a full list of nearby locations and when they are open, see HERE.

MAPLE LEAF MONSTER JAM TOUR

Rev up your engines and head on over to the Budweiser Gardens for Monster Jam! This is the only event happening at the Bud this weekend, with shows Saturday and Sunday. See HERE for more information.

RAIDER ROBOTICS SCIENCE EXPO

H.B. Beal Secondary School is holding their first annual Raider Robotics Science Expo, geared towards children ages 4 -13. There will be science demonstrations, robot displays, reptiles, and more! Entry is by donation or canned good. The event runs from 12:00noon to 2:00pm at Beal.

BOLER MOUNTAIN

Boler is still open for skiing, snowboarding, and tubing this weekend! They’re open Saturday 9:00am to 10:00pm and Sunday 9:00am to 7:00pm for skiing and snowboarding, Saturday 11:00am to 10:00pm and Sunday, 11:00am to 6:00pm for tubing.

LONDON CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

The Children’s Museum is full of fun this weekend with so many exciting activities for kids! On Saturday, they have the ARF (Animal Rescue Foundation) dogs to talk to families about adopting and caring for new pets, a Chronic Pain Management Workshop for kids presented by The Arthritis Society, a dance performance by the Dance Essence dance troupe, star shows, magnet experiments, and fun art opportunities. On Sunday, the St John Ambulance Therapy Dogs will be there to give information on their program and let you meet the dogs!

Monster Jam

monsterjam

The Maple Leaf Monster Jam Tour is coming to the Budweiser Gardens this weekend for three amazing shows and two awesome Pit Parties! Here is all you need to know about this high-energy, action-packed event:

MONSTER JAM

If you’ve never seen a Monster Jam show, take a look HERE! It’s full of action and excitement and is geared toward all ages, a real family event. The Party in the Pits before the show is an amazing chance to meet the drivers, see the trucks up close and get some great pictures.  Continue reading

Recycling K-Cups

keurig

If you saw the way I stumble over to my Keurig every morning you probably wouldn’t believe that it took three children before I actually started drinking coffee. I bought a Keurig for my Timmie’s-addict husband to save money and instead I got hooked. I’m not the only one, the single-serve coffee machines are insanely popular for the ease and variety of brews. ‘One cup at a time’ was a brilliant idea! However, with the love of flavoured coffee comes an incredible amount of waste that is receiving a big backlash. #KilltheKCup is an actual movement, criticizing the little pods for being unrecyclable and creating so much waste. If the thought of getting rid of your Keurig makes you hyperventilate (and I would not judge you if it did), then consider some of these ideas to reduce your waste:

  1. COMPOST: when you’re done with your k-cups, peel back that foil and dump the grinds into any tupperware-type container with a tight-fitting lid. When the container is full, dump it in your garden or your neighbours garden or on your lawn or under a tree. Coffee grinds make a great mulch and compost very well. If you can, collect a bunch of k-cups and let them dry out for a day to make dumping them easier.
  2. GARDEN STARTERS: spring is just around the corner (hopefully) and those who garden will soon be starting their seeds inside. Whether you’ve got a large kitchen garden or just a flower pot, gardening is a great activity to do with kids. Save a weeks worth of k-cups, clean them out, fill them with some potting soil, drop in your seeds and set them on a windowsill. The little pods already have a hole punched in the bottom for drainage and they are just the right size!
  3. K-CUP POPSICLES: Some bloggers recommend blocking the hole at the bottom with a spot of hot glue, others say foil or tape will do the job. Either way, mix up your favourite juice, creamsicle or even mocha popsicle blends and freeze them with a stick (save, wash and reuse your sticks!) in the centre. Perfect for little kids who never actually finish the big popsicles!
  4. ST PATRICK’S DAY CRAFT: St Patrick’s Day is only a couple of weeks away and if you are the kind of mom who likes to break out the themed crafts for every possible holiday, then this will be right up your alley! With a little bit of cardstock and some glue, you can turn a k-cup into a leprechaun’s little hat.
  5. FINE MOTOR SKILLS: You know how OT’s are always recommending ‘lacing’ as a task to develop your child’s fine motor skills? Forget the giant beads and the lacing games, just grab a new shoe lace, a bunch of cleaned out k-cups, and hand them over to your toddler or preschooler. The whole in the bottom is already there, just lace through for a giant k-cup chain. Older children can turn this into a craft or if you have a whole lot of k-cups saved up, thread them all and decorate your Christmas tree!
  6. SORTING: This is another one that can be for your children. Hand your child a bag of coins and have them sort the coins into k-cups. Sort coloured paperclips, different beans, coloured marshmallows, buttons or any other groups of small items.
  7. SCOOPS: Toss clean k-cups in the bathtub, the sandbox, in a large bin of beans or rice, the water table, and any other place your child has something to scoop and dump. The hole in the bottom just adds to the fun!
  8. CHILD’S PLAY: Kids are nothing if they’re not imaginative. Clean out a months worth of k-cups and give them to your children, the end. Stacking blocks, pyramids, bowling, cup games… they will come up with some ways to breathe life back into these little wonder cups.
  9. REUSE THEM: Dump out the coffee, rinse, dry, and refill with your favourite ground coffee (bought for significantly cheaper than a k-cup!). Recreate the lid with tinfoil and you’re all set!
  10. STOP USING THEM: Oh, stab in the heart, right? But in reality, there are other options for single-serve coffee that don’t involve so much waste. The Keurig does have a My K-Cup option and you can also buy reusable versions that can be found in the coffee aisle of the grocery store or at Walmart, HomeSense, Winners, etc. Many coffee companies now sell flavoured, ground coffee in bags at the grocery store so you don’t have to go back to boring coffee! If the extra step of filling your own pod is just too much, at least consider switching to a coffee brand that has the pod-less, Keurig-compatible options with just the lid and the teabag-style bag of coffee attached.

2015 Fraser Institute Report Card

fraser

The Fraser Institute has released their 2015 Report Card for Ontario elementary schools. The report card is a hot topic among both parents and educators – what do the scores mean? What gives one school a better rating than another? Should these scores be factors in deciding where you send your children to school or should they be dismissed entirely? These are questions that each family has to answer for themselves. Here are the facts about the reports and ranking:

The report is meant to be an objective look at how a school is doing, academically. They look at scores on the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO) exams in literacy and numeracy (reading, writing, and math) that happen in grades 3 and 6 in Ontario. Schools are ranked from 1 to 3037, 1 being the best scores in the province, 3037 being the worst. It also shows you whether their ranking has an upward (improving) trend or a downward (worsening) trend. The schools are rated on a scale of 0 to 10. Though there is no actual ‘pass’ or ‘fail’, a score of 6 or above is seen as at or above the provincial average.

The list can be sorted by city if you would like to narrow the results to just the London schools. From there, you can click on individual schools for more information, such as the number of students that wrote the exam, the percentage of students who are classified as ESL or special needs, and parents average income. These factors paint a bigger picture of the school along with the rank and ratings that they’ve received. The Academic Performance chart breaks down the scores over the past five years to allow you to see how the schools performance has changed and by how much. For more information on how to read the report card, see HERE.

When comparing schools, it is important to find schools with similar characteristics for more accurate comparisons, for example, a school with a large grade six enrollment will have more diversity than a school with a small grade six enrollment where one or two low scores can alter the schools average. In the end, the Fraser Report is just one factor that should be used in deciding where to send your children to school. Read the report, compare the scores of the schools you are interested in, but also visit the schools, meet the teachers, meet the principal, see if you can get a feel for the general mood and atmosphere at the school. And if you’re still unsure, ask on the forum! ;) Please remember also that the school boards in this area are very strict about school boundaries. Very few boundary exemptions are ever given, so if you want your child to attend a specific school, you will have to move into those boundaries.

To see the 2015 Elementary School Report, click HERE.

To see the 2014 Secondary School Report, click HERE.

Gymnastics

gymworld

Gymnastics lessons are a great way for all kids to get active and blow off some of that energy they always seem to be bursting with. Remember how flexible your little baby was, sticking their toes in their mouths? Kids lose a lot of that natural flexibility as they grow up if they don’t work to keep it, so get them working on it!

FOREST CITY GYMNASTICS CLUB

Forest City Gymnastics Club is London’s only non-profit, parent-run gym that offers gymnastics at a reasonable cost. They offer both recreational and competitive programs for children. Lessons begin with Parent and Tots, then KinderGym and up from there. FCGC is located in east London, on First Street.

GYMWORLD

Gymworld begins with Baby & Me classes for little ones ages 12 to 28 months, Parent & Tot classes for 18mos to 3 years, Kindergym for 3-4 year olds, and then lessons for all ages from there. Gymworld is located in northwest London on Fanshawe Park Road. Registration for spring session is currently happening. Spring session begins in April.

LONDON BEJE GYMNASTICS

London BEJE Gymnastics has classes beginning with Parents & Tots at 18 months, classes for JK kids, SK kids, and classes advance from there. Their spring session begins the first week of May. They have many boys-only and girls-only classes, as well as adult/open gym time. Visit them at their new location in west London off Hyde Park and Gainsborough.

LONDON GYMNASTICS ACADEMY

The London Gymnastics Academy (LGA) has recreational and competitive programs that begin Parent & Tot and progress from there. Their spring session begins at the end of April, registration is on now. LGA is located in southwest London on Wonderland Road South.

THE LITTLE GYM

The Little Gym has lessons for your wee ones as young as 4 months old! Parents and Child classes are scheduled for 4mos-3years, and then they can start lessons on their own from 3 to 12. The Little Gym is located in northwest London at the Sherwood Forest Mall.

 

 

Sugar Bush Season

maple

Oh, sweet maple sugar, it’s almost March! And with March brings the sugar snow and the flow of sap through the maple trees. If you are keen to take your family to a Sugar Bush for this truly Canadian experience, here are some of the popular ones in our area:

CRINKLAW MAPLE SYRUP

Crinklaw’s Sugar House is open MARCH 8 through APRIL 11, Wednesdays to Sundays from 10:00am to 3:00pm. They are in London, just south of the 402. For directions, see HERE.

FORT ROSE MAPLE COMPANY

Continue reading

Mommy & Me Mani-Pedi’s

2426

Sometimes, a little pampering can be a great way to recharge, feel good, and give you a time-out from your regular day-to-day grind. Sometimes, you want to share that pampering bliss with the little people in your life. If you have a child who likes to get their nails done, a Mommy and Me manicure and/or pedicure can be a great way to spend some time together doing something completely special and grown up.

 

DIY

If the budget is tight, pick up a bottle of polish in your child’s favourite colour and treat them to a home spa! Go all out: put on some music, get a large bowl to soak their hands or feet in, get your favourite moisturizer, and then paint their piggies. Maybe even give them a little massage while their nails dry. If you’re lucky, they’ll return the favour!

BLISS NAIL & SPA

Bliss offers manicures and pedicures or both, as well as a simple nail polish or toe polish option. Manicures for kids (ages not specified on their website) are $12 and a spa manicure for you is only $15. Bliss is located just west of Wonderland on Fanshawe Park Road West.

BRIGHTON NAILS

Located on Wellington Road South, Brighton Nails offers mani’s, pedi’s, shellac mani’s, colour changes, and mani/pedi combo’s for kids at discounted prices (e.g. $13/manicure). Children must be ten and under. Have your own spa manicure done along with your child for $19.

CHIC HAIR AND SPA

Children under 12 can receive a manicure for $15 while you enjoy your own delicious Aveda manicure for $30. They also offer pedicures for children and a full spa line up for adults. Chic is located on Fanshawe Park Road West.

L’MAR NAIL BAR

L’Mar Nail Bar has L’l Miss Diva manicures, pedicures, and mani/pedi combo’s for your little girls ages ten and under. Manicures are $15 for her, $28 for you. L’Mar is located on Fanshawe Park Road East.

LUCKY’S NAIL AND SPA

Kids ten and under can get their fingers or toes painted for with two free nail art designs. A mani is $15 and you can have your matching manicure for $15 as well! Lucky’s Nail and Spa is on Boler Road.

POSH PEDICURE LOUNGE

Your little Princess aged 12 and under can have a manicure for $14. They also offer Princess pedicures and mani/pedi combos. You can also have your hands done for $30 or a quickie for $20. You can find Posh at York and Ridout.

 

 

This Weekend in London

weekend February

Baby, it’s cold outside. While we wait for that thermostat to get back to single (negative) digits, try to warm up with some of these fun activities!

COMMUNITY LIVING LONDON: NIGHT OF HEROES

Known as one of the best fundraisers of the whole year, the annual Night of Heroes fashion show pairs Community Living London clients with local heroes from London and area. Music, laughter, dancing, and an amazing silent auction round out this night of fun. The event is TONIGHT Thursday, February 26 at the London Convention Centre. The doors open and silent auction begins at 6:00pm, the fashion show starts at 7:00pm. Tickets are $50 each or reserve a table of ten for $500. For tickets, see HERE.

WOMEN’S WAREHOUSE SALE

The Women’s Warehouse Sale is back with the same great deals on women’s clothing: athletic wear, casual and lifestyle clothing. 40-60% all brand name clothing and accessories. The Sale is running Friday, February 27 from 12:00pm to 6:00pm and Saturday, February 28 from 11:00am to 6:00pm. For more information, see HERE.

BUDWEISER GARDENS

Two great games are happening at the Bud this weekend. The London Knights are playing the Guelph Storm Friday night at 7:30. The London Lightning are taking on Mississauga Power at 7:00pm on Saturday evening.

STORYBOOK GARDENS SKATING

It is the LAST WEEKEND to skate around the trail at Storybook Gardens. The skate trail and miniature play village are open Friday from 10:00am to 5:00pm, and Saturday from 10:00am to 8:00pm.. Storybook Gardens skate trail closes for the winter season on March 1st.

WALK TO REMEMBER

The Bereaved Families of Ontario are having their 18th annual Walk to Remember at Westmount Shopping Centre this Sunday, March 1. Registration is at 9:30am and the indoor walk is from 10:00am to 11:30am. There will be refreshments, prizes and draws for all participants. If you have had a child or sibling die in your family, please see HERE for more information.

 

Health and Physical Education: The Curriculum Update

Curriculum Docs - Elem

The parenting world in Ontario has been a blaze the last few days with discussion over the newly released updated version of the Health and Physical Education curriculum for grades 1 to 8 and 9 to 12. The changes to the curriculum were originally drafted five years ago, in 2010, but were set aside for political reason. The curriculum as it currently stands has not been updated since 1998. The new curriculum, which will be implemented across all school boards in Ontario, will begin in September 2015.  Continue reading

Running Races

cityscape1

How are those New Year’s resolutions coming along, Mamas? If getting in shape was on your list, running is a great way to get started. Now, the weather outside may seem treacherous for sneakers, but the annual races will soon be hitting the streets and there are clinics in town to get you started. Here are some of the highlights of the London running scene for this spring:

CLINICS

The Running Room – Learn to Run, 5km, 10km, Women-Only, Walk Half Marathon.

Runner’s Choice – Learn to Run, 5km/10km, Speed Training, Half Marathon, Marathon

Couch to 5K – online, self-directed program

Couch to 10K – online, self-directed program

RACES IN LONDON

Downtown 5K: Friday, April 3. 5km run, 2.5k fun run/walk, kiddie trot & CEO 1km

Run for Retina Research: Sunday, April 12. Half marathon run, half marathon walk, 10km run/walk, 5km run/walk, 2.5km run/walk, junior 1km

Forest City Road Race: Sunday, April 26. Half marathon, 10km, 5km run/wheelchair, fun run

Leslie Petter Memorial Transplant Trot: Saturday, May 2. 5km run/walk

London Run for Ovarian Cancer: Sunday, May 10. 5km run

Superhero Run for Easter Seals Kids: Saturday, May 23. 8km trail run, 5km superhero run, 1km fun run

Do It For Dads Walk Run: Sunday, June 21.

Summer Night 5K: Friday, July 17. 5km walk/run, kiddie trot

RACES OUTSIDE LONDON

Run Around the Square: Sunday, May 10 in GODERICH. 10km, 5km, kiddie trot

The Dairy Capitol Walk/Run: Sunday, May 31 in WOODSTOCK. 10km, 5km, 2km, Lil’ Hoofer

Safe Harbour Run: Sunday, June 7 in BAYFIELD. 10km, 5km, 2km fun run

Embro Highland Games: Wednesday, July 1 in EMBRO. 10km, 5km